Tales from Tokyo: ‘I lost my grandfather to Covid-19 – I hope I made him proud’

  • Belgian rider Laurence Roos had good reason to feel emotional as she finished her post-test interview following her grand prix at the Tokyo Olympics on Fil Rouge.

    “I lost my grandfather, who bought Fil Rouge for me – he died of Covid-19. So I hope I made him very proud today,” she said.

    We think so – Laurence posted a score of 70.699% on her Olympic debut to claim fourth place in group D of the grand prix in the Olympic dressage today.

    “My horse was a little bit tense in this big arena, but I felt so happy I didn’t make stupid mistakes and I got the score I wanted,” she said. “It was such a nice experience. Normally I’m really focused and I have such a sour face, but today I felt like smiling all through the test.”

    Laurence, 27, is one of the few amateur riders at this level – she is a dentist in her professional life.

    “My horses, my practice and my home are all at the same address, so I don’t have to spend time travelling forward and back to work,” explained Laurence, who owns the dental practice and has one other dentist working with her.

    “I also only have two horses, one young one and one at this level. That’s all I can manage. My mum is my dental assistant and my father helps a lot in the stables, and I’m very grateful that I have them because otherwise it wouldn’t be possible.

    “I have a really different schedule every day, but mostly I ride my horses in the lunch break because more of my patients would like to come before or after work. So I start with appointments early in the morning and I stop late in the evening and ride during lunch.”

    Laurence Roos has had the 16-year-old dark brown stallion Fil Rouge, by Stedinger, 12 years and they are veterans of many age and senior championships, although this is their first Olympics.

    “I did the young riders with him and then under-25s and then I became a member of the senior team in Belgium. It’s incredible that I made it this far and I’m so happy and proud to be here,” she said.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...